Special Duke Sweet 16 report from Folgers Crystals

My worry about a great many things has yet to subside fully, and I’ve had a great many questions. Where do I pick up my credential? How will I find my seat? What if I’m in the wrong seat? If the game gets close, can I unleash all of my angst upon Twitter? Does the NCAA monitor my Twitter? Will the tens of people who follow me on Twitter be dismayed at my sudden professionalism and lack of swearing? Do people really stay professional on Twitter? What if I accidentally wander into the locker room when they’re not expecting me? (I did, after all, have to see Shawn Bradley in a towel when I accidentally wandered into the players’ tunnel at a Mavs game. It wasn’t pretty.) What if I blurt out “I love you, Grant Hill!” during a lull in the broadcast? Because I do love Grant Hill. I really do.

And today, as I shared my news with my students, they got in on the fear frenzy.

“What if you’re on television? Do your hair, Miss.”

“What if you accidentally pick your nose on camera?”

“How do you accidentally pick your nose?”

“Can you get me an autograph?”

(Editor’s note: No!)

“What if you fall down while you’re walking to your seat and someone puts it on Instagram and then it goes viral and then I’m gonna have to tell everyone, ‘Yep. That’s my teacher’? That’s embarrassing, Ms. Naz.” This is a valid concern as I’ve already fallen on camera once this year.

“What if you’re sitting next to the team? Oh. My. God. You’d just die, wouldn’t you?”

“Are you going to get paid? What do you mean you’re not gettin’ paid? Writers get PAID!”

(Editor’s note: A common misconception)

I managed to get through class, experiencing panic only every 4-6 minutes, rising and falling in tiny waves of nausea. It’s a feeling akin to eating week-old Chinese food. It probably won’t kill you, but it sure isn’t comfortable.

As they were leaving, one of my girls asked the most important question of all. “Are you afraid of just messing up your story? Because it’s okay if you mess up. You’ll know how to fix it. That’s what you do.”

Just when you think they’re not listening…

Each day, I encourage my students to push themselves past their comfort zone. I challenge them to try new things. I remind them that without risk, there is no reward. And I preach that writing is important. It is more than just a means to an answer on a test, more than just a way to fill up the page. I teach, and I teach, and I teach, but am I truly living what I am teaching?

And with that, I stopped worrying.

Folgers may not be everyone’s first choice for a fine-dining coffee experience, but if you open up enough cabinets around America, you’re sure to find a jar, just waiting for the switch.

Let’s see if they notice.

Follow Deana’s Duke coverage for the rest of the week at @lemonberry32


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